Ranjith Reddy Varakantam, Principal Agile Coach, wrote what we thought was a pretty epic review of I am a Software Engineer and I am in Charge on amazon.in and goodreads.com.
He called it “a lean book” that “conveys new learnings with every chapter.” Ultimately describing it as “Aesop’s Fables in an enterprise setting.”
His words piqued our interest so we reached out to Ranjith to learn more about what he’s up to and how the book helped him. Here’s what he had to say.
As a Principle Agile Coach, one of my responsibilities is to ensure that the Developer Group, which consists of around 28 teams, is continuously working on small improvements.
One high priority project that we are working on right now is to create a 100% automated workflow that will allow Operator based Containers to be released with zero manual intervention. This will only succeed if we can get multiple groups to work together to deliver the tooling and functionality.
This is quite challenging as it is a complex project that needs people to solve not just hard technical issues but also cultural ones. The interdependencies between multiple teams and the competing priorities raises the table stakes.
Working with this many people and priorities can at times make me feel that some people are “difficult” and don’t seem to be contributing how I’d like them to be. I was feeling this frustration when I picked up the book. Skimming through the first chapter, to my surprise found the main character was in exactly the same position!
“I’ve done my best,” she says. “Maybe this isn’t the job for me. Maybe I should be in a different company. I just wish everyone around me would do more, be better somehow.” These were exactly the same thoughts going through my head. I became riveted to the book. I wanted to find out more.
By the end of the first chapter, the main character realized her folly by talking things through with her wise colleague. The colleague shows her that instead of ‘venting’, she would make more progress if she spent her time ‘inquiring’.
That changed my state of mind and I started to think about what I could do to ensure that gaps were filled and make things crystal clear for people to improve their efficiency.
As I continued to read chapter after chapter, I realized that the challenges that I face or the thoughts that go through my head are common in organizations. The people are not so different from each other and mostly it’s the same kind of situations that we all find ourselves in.
By the end of the story, I realized that I needed to be more attentive and mindful. To be willing to view the situation from a different perspective. With a little bit of work on ourselves, we are actually capable of making a big difference.
After reading this book, I’m now more interested in looking at the problem from various angles without prejudging people. Instead, I try to see what we can do to solve the problem or challenge at hand.
I’ve also found this book to be a handy reference that I can revisit again and again as there are many things that can be picked up. The best part is that each chapter has a clear set of guidelines and additional reading that I can catch up on.
This book has motivated me to look within myself for answers and realized that most often by working a bit on ourselves, we give birth to new powers and greater degrees of effectiveness.
Thanks, Ranjith for sharing your story on how the book helped you.
From time to time Ranjith publishes articles on Linkedin and Opensource.com. If you’d like to reach out to Ranjith, the best way is via his Linkedin profile.